Clinical chemistry testing is one of the mainstays in healthcare. Nonetheless, pathology residents often do not receive extensive training in clinical chemistry and spend little time on chemistry service. In a fast-paced healthcare environment, there are moments when we must return to tried-and-true strategies. In the session, “The Little-Known Formula That Will Change the Way You Teach Clinical Chemistry,” three educators in pathology will share how they face the current challenges in teaching clinical chemistry.
Long and boring PowerPoint presentations must become a thing of the past, according to moderator and speaker, Joe Wiencek, PhD, DABCC, FAACC. Remembering what it was like to be a student in clinical chemistry, he tailors his approach to engage those learning for the first time. Wiencek uses active and learner-centered education to capture residents’ attention—and retention. The strategies he will discuss give residents a holistic appreciation for clinical chemistry delivering education in an active way that is relevant to their daily practice, instead of only “teaching to the test.”
David Alter, MD, MPH, DABCC, will discuss his strategy for connecting with residents, which takes advantage of the fact that clinical chemistry touches every aspect of medicine. Although residents may have already chosen a specialty that is not focused on clinical pathology, Alter argues that knowledge of clinical chemistry will make them better diagnosticians. Key to his presentation will be examples for how he connects the dots between clinical practice and clinical chemistry testing. Many pathologists may, at some point, function as directors or consultants to laboratories offering clinical chemistry testing. Alter will explain how he drives home this reality, and keeps residents engaged in the rotation, by presenting clinical cases that underscore how clinical chemistry knowledge assisted in the investigation of anatomical pathology cases. With this integrative approach, Alter helps residents develop a lifelong appreciation of clinical chemistry.
The third speaker, Gurmukh Singh, MD, PhD, MBA, has been busy overhauling resident training at his institution with outstanding results. He will describe how implementing a structured training program ensures that pathology residents learn about every aspect of clinical chemistry. He’ll also make the case that involving residents in quality improvement projects can lead to mutual benefits to the department and the residents through awards and publications.
Singh will also tackle the tough parts of implementing a multi-faceted training program. Institutions often allot only small amounts of time to clinical chemistry rotations, either by the design of the residency program or because residents’ duties from other areas interfere. Singh will discuss his approach to these challenges and the evidence-based strategies that boost board exam scores in clinical pathology. In Singh’s session, attendees will appreciate that the efforts taken to help residents pass the boards will also lead to their learning of clinical chemistry. All it takes to start is a committed teacher.
A challenge in teaching clinical chemistry is that, although clinical chemists are expected to teach, they may not have received direct, formal training in pedagogy. And while evidence-based teaching methods exist, how would clinical chemists be aware of them without a formal introduction? The audience of the session will walk away with some examples of teaching methods and successful strategies to engage residents. Overall, attendees will appreciate the dedication and commitment necessary to build a successful training experience in clinical chemistry.
Anyone who trains, or is being trained, in clinical chemistry should look forward to this session where three committed educators will share their tricks of the trade that have been key to driving trainee engagement and success in learning clinical chemistry.